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December 19, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 19, 2014

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FLORIDA JEWISH EWS Editorials ..................................... 4A op-00. I ...................................... 5A ............................ Synagoectory .................. 7A B&apos;nai Mtzah .............................. 8A Scene Around ............................. 9A Jewish Academy of Orlando second-graders sport hard hats as they learn about construction from Habitat for Humanity. Jewish Academy students get hands-on lessons from Habitat for Humanity On Thursday, Dec.11, 17 second- grade students from Jewish Academy of Orlando got the lesson of a lifetime, and it was not in the classroom. They were able to visit a Habitat for Human- ity Winter Park-M,itland construction site at 832 English Court, Winter Park, 32789, to bring to life the lessons they have been learning at school during their Social Studies unit on economics. At Habitat for Humanity, the stu- dents conducted mock inspections of a home under construction, putting mathematical (measurement, money) and Social Studies (what does safe, decent housing provide for a family?) concepts in perspective. Hal George, construction manager and co-founder of the Winter Park af- filiate of Habitat for Humanity, guided the students on their visit. The stu- Academy on page 14A Author David Laskin to speak about family history at JGSGO event By Christine DeSouza With television shows like "Who DoYou ThinkYou Are?" and "Finding Your Roots," it is no wonder that genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the U.S. (gardening is No. 1). It is also the second most visited category on the Internet (next only to por- nography). In light of this growing interest in family histories, on Jan. 12, 2015, Congrega- tion Ohev Shalom and the Jewish Genealogical Society m = o - 00 m -- < - ca m 1.1.1 0 :" x of Greater Orlando (JGSGO) will present a special program featuring David Laskin, au- thor of "The Family," which is the story of his own ancestors whose lives were impacted by events in early 1900 Russia through the Holocaust. Laskin likes to write non- fiction novels about "ordi- nary people swept up in the catalysm of history." His first two books, "The Children's Blizzard" and "The Long Way Home" required months of research into the history of the times and the histories of the people he was writ- ing about. He never really thought of it as "genealogy." His specialty was (and is still) the intertwining of people and historical events. Laskin considered himself more a writer than a genealo- gist. In fact, he did not have the urge to dig into his family's genealogy until he realized his family also was caught up in a crisis in history. "It never occurred to me that I'd find a story with my own family," he stated. "Through my Israeli relatives I learned that an entire branch of my family was wiped out (in Russia) and the light bulb went off." When he began his research for "The Family," an interest in genealogy started to creep into his bones. He regretted not really paying attention to his relatives as they spoke David Laskin with his wife, Kate O'Neill, and their Lab- rador retriever, Patrick. of the old days. "When fam- ily members die off, along go all the stories of their lives," he said. "I grew up hearing stories that my immigrant Jewish grandparents told about the 'old country' (Russia) that they left at the turn of the last century. How I wish I had recorded and video-taped every one of their memories." He continued, "I traced and braided together all three strands of my family--from those who came to America and realized the American dream, while at the same time another branch were pioneers in Israel, living a very primi- tive lifestyle." Through his connection of world events to family his- tory, Laskin has crafted a talk expressly for those interested in their own family histories. Laskin on page 14A JFS Orlando00 the quiet agency By Christine DeSonza Assistant Editor On March 13, 1978, Jew- ish Family Services Orlando opened its door to help low- income families who found themselves in a crunch, and 36 years later, it is still helping people down on their luck. It is the Jewish Com- munity's organized outreach into the community--for Jews and non-Jews alike. The agency isn't on the Jewish Community Campus. There's a reason for that. Located at 2100 Lee Road in Winter Park, it is on the bus routes, the means of trans- portation for many of the people who use the services provided by JFS. The mission of the agency is to "provide vital, high-quality and innovative services to people in need, of all faiths, so they can overcome chal- lenges and lead fuller, more structured lives." Case in point: Milca came to JFS Orlando through her son's school. She and her husband were doing well and had a nice apartment. Then, unexpected events happened all at once: Their car broke down and needed repairs, the rentwent up on the apartment and her family was suddenly in a financial bind. "When it looked like we weren't going to make it, JFS helped us make it and gave us Arlene Vieira, emergency services caseworker. the tools we needed for every area in our life," she said. Arlene Vieira, Emergency Services caseworker, was able to help Milcawith her family's immediate needs--food and rent assistance. Vieira sees about five to six qualified families a day. In partnership with JFS, United Way screens possible clients and then refers them to JFS. People don't just walk in off the street. Some people only need emergency services to get themselves back on their feet. Others need further assis- tance andVieirawill introduce them to Jascha Fields, who is the case manager of the Fam- ily Stabilization program. In JFS on page 15A TOP to launch 'Life & Legacy' TAMPA--The Tampa Or- lando Pinellas Jewish founda- tion ("TOP") has launched a new endowment program that will empower every member of the community to have a long-term impact on Jewish institutions and organiza- tions at home, in Israel and around the world. TOP will facilitate the "Life & Legacy" program under the guidance of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, a program that represents a shared com- mitment by area agencies, synagogues and day schools to work together to collectively secure endowment gifts. The grant-funded program will be offered for two years, beginning in January 2015, and is made possible with the financial support of the Grinspoon Foundation and the three Federations in each of the three communities. "This program is a real game changer," said Debby Gendzier, immediate past president of TOP. "It does two important things at the same time: It enables donors to ful- fill their philanthropic wishes by supporting specific needs in the Jewish community, and provides critical resources for our agencies, synagogues and community to meet unfore- seen challenges and build for the future." Through Life & Legacy, a donor has the ability to establish one legacy gift to benefit one or more orga- nizations. The donor can make a commitment either through a current or future gift to a Jewish organization's endowment fund at TOP or by declaring his or her intent to remember Jewish causes in a will or estate plan. A legacy gift of any size can be customized and struc- tured to fit a donor's desires, lifestyle, family and financial needs. The donor can provide support for a particular insti- tution, such as a synagogue, day school or social service agency. Alternately, the donor can designate support for an area of interest, such as car- ing for the elderly, educating children, or advancing Jewish TOP on page 14A IILl!!!!!ll!!!!lJLIlls